HERCULES AND LOVE AFFAIR
Hercules And Love Affair’s latest album looks set to enhance their own mythology. Andy Butler opens his heart… and talks dirty to Marc Andrews.
DNA: You’ve said you want this album to be nasty and aggressive. Tell us more! Andy Butler: I don’t know if nasty would be the right word, but aggressive, I guess so, yes. I wanted tough house productions, not f luffy deep house polite productions, which have been the name of the game in more mainstream dance music in the past year or so. The album title suggests you’ve been through some tough times, is that right? That would be right, but so have many other people around me, er, sometimes because of me… What was the inspiration for most of the material here? Memories of being a teenage runaway, finding warmth and my identity inside a rigged up warehouse space with some ridiculously good DJs playing and artists performing. You manage to ride a fine line between nu-disco and old school house. Do you think that’s a fair representation of the band musically? I prefer to call Hercules poporiented danceable music with a kind of antipop/anti-commercial artsy streak. Do people always assume that you are “Hercules”? Yes, I am resigned to it at this point. It was never the intention but people interpret as they will. It doesn’t help that my shirt is off a lot. In general the public is misled cause Herc had way better abs than me [laughs]. Did EDM gobble up and spit out most dance music in its wake or not? EDM is monstrous, but I don’t even really consider it dance music as it does not make me dance, or want to. To me personally, it has had no impact on dance music. The rest of the world might be misled by it but I’m not concerned. It’s like running into a zombie, if you have half a brain you realize the thing has no soul. Is dance music in good shape now? There are a lot of artists that are embracing danceability, pop stars have been doing it for a while now with all the Gagas and Rihannas and stuff. Indie bands like Arcade Fire are doing it disco style now, you have the minimal kids adding vocals to their work and now house has been really championed and resurrected through kids like Disclosure and other 20-somethings. So it’s back, and I’d say it’s moving in the right direction. Is there such a thing now as gay dance music? I don’t think there is gay music but there is music that speaks to a gay experience, namely songs of liberation, redemption and freedom. That said, vocals and drama are good for the gay clubs. We like our anthems, big singers and narratives. Is there a big divide between contemporary hands in the air hits and sleazier underground more Berlin-like sounds? The two meet. Have you ever heard Cajmere or classic Detroit chaps like Octave One or Blake Baxter? Loopy techno house with vocals. What have been one of the best gigs you’ve played? Too many to name. The first time at the Panorama bar [at Berlin’s Berghain] was major. We just played Brussels live and had the most insane unstoppable audience reaction.
[Electronic Dance Music] is like running into a zombie, if you have half a brain you realise the thing has no soul.
Do you think gay club life has grown stale and tired? I don’t go out too much, but seeing kids in New York playing the hip-hop game full-on now is very exciting. There is a vibrancy to the younger generation. They are not so confined by rules of identity. Music is eclectic, looks are eclectic, crowds are eclectic. What were your impressions of Australia when you were there? A beautiful place, the dudes are rugged and hot, the audiences are up for fun and yes, I plan on returning whether they want me there or not, period. What’s your message for your gay fans? Keep drinking the water cos it’s working and bring your most loving self to the party. Selfacceptance and acceptance of our community are paramount.